Hydrocortisone cream is an effective treatment for itching, irritation and inflammation due to: insect bites, mild to moderate eczema, detergent hands, nickel allergy, plant allergy and strong detergent chemicals.

Most hydrocortisone skin products are mild. You can buy them from pharmacies to use for certain health problems. There is a stronger hydrocortisone cream called hydrocortisone butyrate. This is only available on prescription.

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What is eczema: a short overview

Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. It is a general term for dermatitis, which is the term normal used inflammation of the skin. All types of eczema cause itching and redness and some will blister or peel. There is several types of eczema, and to know which type of the condition you have is relevant to the type of treatment you will need, to manage the flare-ups.

While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, researchers do know that people who develop
eczema do so because of a combination of genes and environmental triggers. When an irritant or an allergen is exposed to the immune system, skin cells don’t behave as they normally would, and therefore causing an eczema flare-up.

How does Hydrocortisone cream work?

Hydrocortisone creams contain the active ingredient hydrocortisone which is a corticosteroid or topical ‘steroid’. Corticosteroids are available in different potencies and hydrocortisone is classed as a mild corticosteroid. The skin gets inflamed when an allergic reaction or irritation causes various chemicals to be released in the skin. These make blood vessels widen and the irritated skin becomes red, swollen, itchy and painful. Hydrocortisone acts inside the skin cells to stop the release of these chemicals. This reduces the swelling, redness and itching.

For skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, it’s common to use Hydrocortisone cream in conjunction with a moisturiser (emollient) to provide relief from the itchy, red and inflamed skin.

Can I buy Hydrocortisone cream online in the UK?

When treating the condition, a doctor will usually assess its severity before advising which type of medication (if necessary) to use. With Hydrocortisone, which is available to buy online through a secure prescription service, like an online clinic of your choice. But you should keep in mind that in the UK this is a prescription-only medicine, so you will have to obtain a prescription in order to buy it legally.

Most online clinics offer various forms of consultations with a doctor – from live chat apps, to customised questionnaires, all these methods are there to help the doctor employed by the online clinic to make an informed decision about your suitability for the treatment, based on your medical profile and history.
If you get the go-ahead from the doctor, he will issue a prescription and use it that very same moment to send the required medicine straight to your doorstep.

How do I use Hydrocortisone Cream?

When using this medicine, it is absolutely crucial to precisely follow the guidelines presented to you by your prescriber. In addition to this, you should also consult the official patient information leaflet that you can find within every box of the medicine for a detailed overview of the treatment. Doing so will go a long way in diminishing the risk of side effects while at the same time boosting the chances of success.
Some most general guidelines can be described as follows:

  • Wash your hands before applying Hydrocortisone
  • Apply a thin, even layer to the affected area(s) and use the smallest amount of cream possible
  • Use the cream once or twice a day (once is often sufficient)
  • If using the cream twice a day, try to allow an 8–12 hour gap between applications
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the cream, unless the hands are the area being treated
  • Do not use the cream for more than 7 days without consulting your doctor
  • Do not use on the face without consulting your doctor

Side effects

Like all medicines, this cream can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. The most serious of them certainly is an allergic reaction to the medicine. If you turn out to be allergic to Hydrocortisone or any of its ingredients, it is essential to contact the emergency services immediately and ask for advice. The symptoms of any allergic side effect is:

  • You have difficulty breathing
  • Your face or throat swell
  • Your skin develops a severe rash

Other possible side effects:

  • skin thinning
  • stretch marks
  • Rosacea or acne
  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • excessive hair growth at the application site
  • mild burning or stinging sensation at the application site

Hydrocortisone contraindications

In order to ensure the safety of this treatment, always make sure to disclose all the relevant info to your doctor and this includes other medicines you might be on at the moment and other medical conditions that you might be affected by.

Hypersensitivity to Hydrocortisone is a contraindication. In addition, this cream should not be used if you have the following:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you are allergic to corticosteroids or any of the other ingredients
  • It should not be used in children under the age of 10 unless advised by your doctor

You should always tell your doctor about any other medicines you are using including over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies and any other topical medicines before purchasing any medicines.